U.S. Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
October 28, 2008
TDD (202) 514-1888
Than 145 Defendants Charged in National
Export Enforcement Initiative During Past Fiscal Year
Charged Today in Plot to Export Sensitive Technology to
China Space Entity
Counter-Proliferation Task Forces and Training Part of National
multi-agency initiative to combat illegal exports of restricted
military and dual-use technology from the United States
has resulted in criminal charges against more than 145 defendants
in the past fiscal year, with roughly 43 percent of these
cases involving munitions or other restricted technology
bound for Iran or China, the Justice Department and several
partner agencies announced today.
the past fiscal year, the National Export Enforcement Initiative
has also resulted in the creation of Counter-Proliferation
Task Forces in various judicial districts around the country.
Today, there are approximately 15 such task forces or versions
of them nationwide. In addition, the initiative has resulted
in enhanced training for more than 500 agents and prosecutors
involved in export control and the creation of new mechanisms
to enhance counter-proliferation coordination among law
enforcement agencies, export licensing agencies and the
the most recent cases brought in connection with the initiative
was an indictment returned today in the District of Minnesota
charging three individuals, Jian Wei Ding, Kok Tong Lim,
and Ping Cheng, with conspiring to illegally export to the
People's Republic of China (PRC) controlled carbon-fiber
material with applications in rockets, satellites, spacecraft,
and uranium enrichment process. According to the indictment,
the intended destination for some of the material was the
China Academy of Space Technology, which oversees research
institutes working on spacecraft systems for the PRC.
in Oct. 2007, the National Export Enforcement Initiative
is a cooperative effort by the Justice Department's National
Security Division (NSD), the Department of Homeland Security's
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Commerce's
Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the Pentagon's Defense
Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the State Department's
Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, the Treasury Department's
Office of Foreign Assets Control and other agencies.
Threat from Illegal Exports
a daily basis, foreign states as well as criminal and terrorist
groups seek arms, technology, and other materials to advance
their technological capacity, weapons systems and, in some
cases, Weapons of Mass Destruction programs. With America
producing the most advanced technology in the world, it
has become a primary target of these illicit technology
acquisition efforts. The U.S. government, defense sector,
private companies, and research institutions are routinely
targeted as sources of these materials.
items sought from America in these illicit schemes are as
diverse as missile technology, nuclear technology, assault
weapons, trade secrets, source code, military aircraft parts,
night vision systems, and technical know-how. The improper
transfer of these items poses threats to U.S. allies, U.S.
troops overseas, and to Americans at home. It also undermines
America's strategic, economic, and military position in
U.S. weapons technology and other restricted materials from
falling into the wrong hands and from being used against
our allies, our troops overseas or Americans at home is
a top counter-intelligence priority of the Justice Department,"
said Patrick Rowan, Assistant Attorney General for National
Security. "Through this multi-agency initiative we
are making America a far more hostile target for those that
seek to obtain our sensitive technology through illegal
Prosecutions and Investigations
recent years, as investigative agencies have stepped up
their efforts to address this threat, the Justice Department
has handled a growing number of cases involving illegal
exports of sensitive U.S. technology and embargo violations.
Last year, the Department decided to institutionalize the
expansion of its export control efforts through the launch
of the National Export Enforcement Initiative, which is
designed to increase training and coordination among agencies
involved in export control, enhance prosecution of these
crimes, and deter illicit activity.
implement the initiative, the Justice Department appointed
its first National Export Control Coordinator in June 2007.
In October 2007, the Department joined forces with counterparts
from ICE, FBI, BIS, DCIS, the Department of State and other
agencies to publicly announce the initiative. Since that
time, the number of prosecutions has continued to grow,
as investigative agencies have increased the tempo of their
operations and prosecutors have become more familiar with
this area of law.
Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, there were more than 145 defendants
charged in export control or embargo cases, compared to
roughly 110 charged in FY 2007. There have been more than
255 defendants charged in such cases over the past two fiscal
years. Charges brought in these cases include violations
of the Arms Export Control Act, the International Emergency
Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), the export control provision
of the PATRIOT Reauthorization Act, the Trading with the
Enemy Act, and other statutes.
Materials Bound for Iran and China
43 percent of the defendants charged in FY 2008 were charged
in export control or embargo cases involving Iran or China.
In total, Iran ranked as the leading destination for illegal
exports of restricted U.S. technology in the prosecutions
brought in FY 2008, as well as those in FY 2007.
illegal exports bound for Iran have involved such items
as missile guidance systems, Improvised Explosive Device
(IED) components, military aircraft parts, night vision
systems and other materials. The illegal exports to China
have involved rocket launch data, Space Shuttle technology,
missile technology, naval warship data, Unmanned Aerial
Vehicle or "drone" technology, thermal imaging
systems, military night vision systems and other materials.
significant portion of the cases in FY 2008 and in FY 2007
also involved illegal exports to Mexico. These prosecutions
primarily involved illegal exports of firearms, including
assault weapons and rifles, as well as large quantities
of ammunition destined for Mexico. In addition, there were
several cases during this period involving arms and other
materials being routed to terrorist organizations in various
Counter-Proliferation Task Forces
cornerstone of the initiative has been the ongoing formation
of multi-agency Counter-Proliferation Task Forces in U.S.
Attorney's offices around the country. Today, there are
approximately 15 such task forces or working groups operating
nationwide, some straddling more than one judicial district.
entities have built on prior inter-agency efforts used in
certain districts where agents from ICE, FBI, BIS, and Defense
Department agencies pool data and jointly pursue cases.
Under the leadership of U.S. Attorneys, these task forces
foster coordination critical to the success of export control.
Training and Coordination
export control cases involve complex statutory and regulatory
schemes, sophisticated technology, international issues,
agencies with different authorities, and, often classified
information, training for prosecutors and agents has been
a critical focus of the initiative.
January 2008 alone, the Justice Department's National Security
Division has presented more than 30 legal training sessions
and lectures around the country on export control. In addition,
the Department has held two national export control training
conferences and is scheduled to hold another in early 2009
in South Carolina. To date, more than 500 prosecutors and
investigators have received training through these mechanisms.
Department's National Security Division has also distributed
a comprehensive tool kit of legal pleadings and related
information on export control for field prosecutors and
agents. On a daily basis, the National Export Control Coordinator
provides legal advice and counsel for prosecutors and agents
on these cases.
critical component of the initiative involves enhanced coordination
within the export control community. The Justice Department,
along with other agencies, has created the Technology Protection
Enforcement Group (TPEG), an inter-agency Headquarters-level
working group, to enhance export control coordination among
law enforcement agencies and between law enforcement agencies
and the Intelligence Community. In addition, the Department
has created a working group of intelligence analysts to
assist field prosecutors across the country in export cases
and to ensure appropriate information sharing with the Intelligence
Department has also initiated monthly coordination meetings
with the export licensing agencies, particularly the State
Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls and the
Commerce Department's BIS, to improve coordination and the
flow of information to those agencies in accomplishing their
missions. Furthermore, the Department regularly participates
in and contributes to outreach efforts with foreign governments
on export control matters, in conjunction with the State
the past year, the Department has also been involved in
a variety of legislative, regulatory, and policy proposals
related to export control and embargos. During 2007, for
instance, Congress passed and the President signed into
law amendments to the International Emergency Economic Powers
Act (IEEPA), which, among other things, added conspiracy
and attempt provisions to the IEEPA as well as enhanced
criminal fines and administrative fines for violations of
this law, which is a critical export and embargo enforcement
will not allow the United States' national security to be
held hostage by rogue nations or sold to the highest bidder.
This includes sensitive military information and technology,
as well as weapons of mass destruction or the components
needed to produce them. ICE is committed to working closely
and cooperatively with our partners at every level of law
enforcement to ensure this does not happen." Julie
L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for ICE
said. "Time after time, our export enforcement investigations
have helped prevent the illegal acquisition of these resources
and helped maintain military, political and economic stability
throughout the world."
one agency can accomplish the immense task of safeguarding
U.S. national security assets and protecting the illegal
export of restricted materials, including military and dual-use
technologies," said Executive Assistant Director Arthur
M. Cummings, II, of the FBI's National Security Branch.
"The FBI is committed to enforcing export control laws
and will continue to work closely with our partners in the
law enforcement and the intelligence communities to enhance
export control awareness and training and to build on the
success of our Counter-Proliferation Task Forces."
are continuing to sharpen our enforcement efforts to focus
on those areas of greatest concern to us: proliferators,
supporters of terrorism, and nations of illicit trans-shipment
concern. When foreign companies take controlled U.S. technology
and illegally transfer itthey also face serious repercussions.
We remain committed to investigate, uncover, and stop these
activities wherever they may occur," said Under Secretary
of Commerce Mario Mancuso.
the illegal export of critical technologies and restricted
munitions is of extreme concern to the Department of Defense
because of the real possibility that our Soldiers, Sailors,
Airmen, and Marines may have to face this materiel in the
hands of our adversaries and thereby lose the advantage
that U.S. technology is supposed to provide them,"
said Charles W. Beardall, Department of Defense Deputy Inspector
General for Investigations. "Protecting America's Warfighters
through technology protection is a top priority for the
Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the law enforcement
arm of the DoD Inspector General, and a fundamental focus
for our special agents."
applaud the Department of Justice's efforts," said
John Rood, Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control
and International Security. "We are pleased that the
Department of State has been able to support this important
initiative and proud of the tremendous success achieved
so far in disrupting the flow of sensitive technology to
our adversaries and protecting our national security and
foreign policy interests."
Efforts to Obtain Controlled U.S. Technology
technology at the heart of this initiative includes restricted
U.S. military items, dual-use equipment, and other technical
expertise or know-how, some of which have applications in
Weapons of Mass Destruction. These materials are generally
restricted and may not be exported without U.S. government
approval. Foreign procurement networks intent on obtaining
such materials from the U.S. rarely target complete weapons
systems, but often focus on seemingly innocuous components
to develop their own weapons systems.
to recent reports by the Intelligence Community, private-sector
businessmen, scientists, students, and academics from overseas
are among the most active collectors of sensitive U.S. technology.
Most did not initially come to the U.S. with that intent,
nor were they directed to do so by foreign governments.
Instead, after finding that they had access to technology
in demand overseas, they engaged in illegal collection to
satisfy a desire for profits, acclaim, or patriotism to
their home nations.
the same time, foreign government organizations remain aggressive
in illegally acquiring sensitive U.S. technology. Some governments
have established quasi-official organizations in the U.S.
to facilitate contact with overseas scientists, engineers
and businessmen. Foreign governments have been observed
directly targeting U.S. firms; employing commercial firms
in the U.S. and third countries to acquire U.S. technology;
and recruiting students, professors, and scientists to engage
in technology collection.
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